The creams of the world’s best young golfers will be heading to Scotland in May to take part in the US Kids Golf European Championships.
More than 400 players from some 30 nations will be competing in the event which has emerged as Europe’s premier junior tournament to showcase the next generation of golfing stars.
The event – to be held across five of Scotland’s historic golf courses in East Lothian in May – sees boys and girls split into different gender and age categories in order to compete for the title of US Kids Golf European champion.
The top finishers in each category will then compete in the Van Horn Cup – a showpiece event, modelled on the Ryder Cup, where the best European players are pitted against the top non-Europe golfers. The top five finishers in each age and gender group also automatically receive an invitation to the US Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club, North Carolina, in August.
Entries are still being accepted to the tournament, which offers junior players the dream chance to play at the ‘home of golf’ in Scotland as well as on some of world’s oldest courses.
The tournament is jointly organised by Wee Wonders Limited and US Kids Golf Foundation who are committed to growing the game among children and families across the globe.
Tournament director and former PGA Junior Leader of the year John Godwin said he believes the talent on display will surprise even the most seasoned golf pros. “The skill of the players really has to be seen to be believed. Despite their age, these players demonstrate great poise, balance and professionalism – for example you very rarely see a fluff or mishit shot.
“Anyone who has not watched the elite of today’s junior golfers in action is in for a treat. If we get good conditions, I’m confident we will see a host of superb sub-par rounds.”
John, who is director of player development at US Kids Golf Foundation, added, “We are committed to providing opportunities for young players to play and develop golf. Many of the best young players from around the world – including many for the US – will be competing in May.”
The 2009 European Championships will be played between 26-28 May on five courses in East Lothian – Gullane No. 2, Gullane No. 3, Craigielaw Golf Club, Kilspindie Golf Club and Luffness New Golf Club. The Van Horn Cup is played on 29th May at Gullane No. 1.
The courses are modified for each age group in order to provide the same level challenge – so holes are progressively shorter as the age groups get younger. It ultimately allows the players to reach the greens in the same number of strokes as the top pros on the PGA tour.
Tournament co-ordinator Alasdair Good, head professional at Gullane GC, said he was delighted that Scotland was playing host to the event again. “We’ll be delighted to welcome visitors to this year’s tournament. I’ll guarantee no one will be disappointed at the golf they will see.”
“Interest in golf in Scotland is on a high just now. The Scottish Government, through its clubgolf programme, is aiming to continue its commitment to introduce golf to all nine-year-olds and we’ve just seen the Scottish amateur team win the Eisenhower Cup in Australia. The US Kids Golf European Championship will continue to showcase both golf in Scotland and the emerging talent in the game.”
US Kids Golf is the world’s largest producer of junior golf equipment for ages 14 and under. It has pioneered the development of golf clubs for young people, eliminating the problem of kids using heavier, cut-down adult clubs which often hurts developing swings and discourages budding players.